Swing Into Summer With Expanded In-Person and Online Forest Preserve Program Offerings

Now that the state has entered phase four of the COVID-19 reopening plan, the Forest Preserve District is offering more in-person programs for those who want to venture out, as well as additional online offerings for those who would rather enjoy entertaining and educational nature programs from the comfort of their homes.

Topics range from creatures and history to yoga and fitness. Here are the upcoming in-person and online programs:



The Forest Preserve District of Will County has a host of activities lined up, both in person and online, as summer gets in full swing, including the annual “Big Fish Contest” at Monee Reservoir, which begins July 1 an runs through Aug. 30. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff)

MONEE TOWNSHIP – “Big Fish Contest,” July 1-Aug. 30 at Monee Reservoir. Bring your catch of the day to the visitor center to have it measured and photographed to be entered into the contest. Prizes valued at $100 will be awarded to biggest bass, catfish and panfish by length. One name will be drawn from all contestants for a grand prize winner. Free; ages 16 or older.

CRETE TOWNSHIP – “Firefly Hike for Adults,” 8-10 p.m. July 7, Plum Creek Nature Center. A short introduction on firefly ecology will be followed by a nighttime woodland walk filled with different firefly species. Free; ages 18 or older. Register by July 2 at ReconnectWithNature.org or call 708-946-2216.

CRETE TOWNSHIP – “Yoga on the Hill,” 9-10 a.m. Saturdays July 11 and 25, Aug. 8 and 22 and Sept. 5 and 19, Plum Creek Nature Center. Take part in a gentle morning yoga class on the scenic hilltop of Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. Bring your water bottle and a mat. Ages 13 or older; $18 per person, per class. Register at ReconnectWithNature.org or call 708-946-2216.

JOLIET – “Vitamin N Family Hike,” two 90-minute sessions, 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., July 11. Rock Run Preserve – Black Road Access. “N” is for nature, so take your family outdoors for this interactive hike inspired by author Richard Louv’s belief that nature is essential for our well-being. Free; all ages. Register by July 9 at ReconnectWithNature.org or call 815-722-9470.

MONEE TOWNSHIP – “Midnight Madness,” 7 p.m.-midnight July 11, Monee Reservoir. Enjoy nighttime fishing when the water is cooler and fish are more active. Bring a flashlight and bug repellent. Free; all ages.


Zoom webinar registration links are available via the Forest Preserve’s Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org.

ZOOM WEBINAR – “Camping Cuisine,” 6 p.m. July 1. Learn how to plan and prepare delicious camping meals. All ages.

FACEBOOK LIVE – “Monarch’s First Flight,” noon July 8. View monarch eggs, caterpillars and a chrysalis before watching an adult butterfly as its released into the wild. Learn how to “butterfly-up” your lawn and the pros and cons of rearing monarchs at home. View the all-ages program live at Facebook.com/WillCoForests.

ZOOM WEBINAR – “Forest Fitness: Running the Trails at Whalon Lake,” 10 a.m. July 7. Trail running will be covered in this edition of a fitness series designed to teach registrants how to use the preserves to achieve fitness goals. All ages.

ZOOM WEBINAR – “Nature Play Day,” 10 a.m. July 8. Attend this virtual program with 3- to 5-year-olds for a slithering good time. Meet Penny, the ball python and learn what makes her an awesome creature.

ZOOM WEBINAR – “Recreation Conversations: Having a Plan,” 11 a.m. July 9. Having a plan for outdoor recreation can maximize your experience and prevent accidents. Participants can ask questions about recreation or the forest preserves in general. All ages.

ZOOM WEBINAR – “Joliet Iron Works Virtual Tour,” 6 p.m. July 9. Find out how Joliet earned the nickname “City of Stone and Steel” as a naturalist shares the stories of the men and women that worked at this site and photos of the stone foundations that remain at Joliet Iron Works. Ages 16 or older.

Creeker Seekers: Hickory Creek Junction,” 1 p.m. July 10. Embark on a virtual exploration of Hickory Creek as a naturalist flips over rocks in search of aquatic critters, big and small. All ages.

ZOOM WEBINAR – “Fermentation Series: Bubbly Bread,” 6 p.m. July 11. Uncover the science and the history behind bread, which is alive with microorganisms – yeast and bacteria – through the magic of fermentation. Learn how to knead the dough and make a sourdough starter at home. Grab a fermented drink to enjoy while you log on to this unique program. Ages 21 or older.